Wfaa.com – Dissecting DFW’s local Sites

Wfaa is the metroplex’s local ABC affiliate. While it seems to be using a template similar to what many ABC affiliates across the country use and I assume that its developed by some professional web developers, design and usability was clearly not their priority. It’s painfully slow , non-responsive and not optimized for usability.

Page Layout

There is no content when you load the page unless you are on some gigantic screen with gigantic resolution. You are either presented with a full page ad or an ad that takes up nearly 1/3 of the page.

screenshot of wfaa's main page
screenshot of wfaa’s main page

Another version

Once the ad resizes itself
Once the ad resizes itself

 

From both design and usability perspective this is extremely poor. Google actually uses this “above the fold” measure or how much content a user sees without scrolling in their algorithm. So not only is this poor from usability perspective its also bad for seo.

 

Speed

I ran a simple speed test using pingdom.

results of speed test for wfaa's website
results of speed test for wfaa’s website

 

It takes nearly five seconds to load the page which is actually 23.5mb in size. Now unless you have a really high quality content to offer that nobody else does, vast majority of the users are not going to wait this long for your website to load.

Apart from its gigantic size, it uses a ton of external scripts as you can see below.

scripts on wfaa.com

This is probably one of the main reason of poor speed and lag I experienced while browsing the site.

Responsiveness

As more and more people are browsing the web on mobile, it is essential that your website scales according to user’s screen.  Now wfaa does have a mobile app but that’s not an excuse for having a website that’s essentially useless on smaller screens. At most people are going to have one or two apps for news and that’s usually an app for major worldwide news service or some kind of news aggregation service like Google news. They will probably install your app but then it will get buried somewhere deep in folders.

 

wfaa on mobile screen

 

Wfaa’s website is simply not designed for mobile screens in mind.

 

Let me know what you guys think.

 

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